Friday, 31 August 2012

Back to School: But I did not go.....

It is almost September.  Stores are full of back-to-school specials and the air is full of fresh promises for the year that lies ahead. Are you watching your friends' newsfeeds? Are they full of Orientation pictures? Tales of their new beginning at college or university?  Or, are you tweeting about your Orientation experience and it does not feel right?  Maybe, you did not make the choice to leave school - it made it for you.  Well, guess what - you are not alone.

Every September, groups of young adults decide, learn or are influenced to postpone their educational careers for a year or two - or even more!  Others decided into their first few weeks of school that something else is on their mind more than school: taking a gap year.

Maybe you are a parent, family member of a young adult who needs help finding direction.  This coming October, we are hosting an event for young men and their families. Young Men - Finding Direction in the Millennium will offer families and opportunity to explore what it means to be a young man navigating the world.

Whatever the path you find yourself on taking a break from your regular routine - or what feels comfortable can be a great choice.  Many of our clients come to us in the Fall.  We would love to speak with you about what you are thinking about this fall!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Where's the money? How to pay for a gap year!

5 ways to pay for your gap year

Thousands of young people got their A Level results recently, but thanks to high tuition fees and few job opportunities, it’s no surprise that so many are opting to taking gap years and have fun while they can.

Common choices for working abroad include teaching English, fruit-picking in Australia and working a ski season as a chalet girl, but why not do something that stands out on your CV, and that you can brag about to your new mates at uni? Skyscanner presents five ways to pay your way round the world.

1. Travel writing and photography

Got a way with words? Write about your adventures and pitch your work to magazines to earn up to £300 per article. Or start a travel blog. Know your ISO from your aperture? Sell your snaps to travel titles or image banks like Good with video? Set up a YouTube channel. It may not pay straight away, but you could be a star - like Matt Harding!

2. Sing for your supper

Can you play guitar, violin, or the bagpipes? Then play your way around the world like violinist David Juriz who funded an entire world trip by busking Bach from Berlin to Sydney. Juriz averaged £83 per day, but you can earn up to £2,500 in an hour in London, especially in prime spots like Covent Garden. Do check licensing laws and follow busking etiquette before tuning up.

3. Sail away

Working on a yacht isn’t always glamorous. You could be serving martinis to models off Martinique, but usually it’s hard work with long hours. You’ll certainly get a good tan, maybe travel the world and earn up to £3,000 a month. Check sites like Crewseekers International for vacancies from steward to skipper, with jobs currently on offer in the Med, the Azores and the Caribbean.

4. Plant trees

Prince George in British Colombia, Canada is the world’s ‘tree planters’ capital’, where forestry companies need people to plant seedlings. It’s tough, and you’ll be stationed in the middle of nowhere for weeks, but it pays well. Check Tree Planter for info. Veteran tree planters can bag up to £200 a day (though £75 is a more realistic figure). You’ll need a visa to work in Canada – not a problem if you’re under 35.

5. Just get a visa and go!

You’re young, you’re free, so live a little! It’s possible to get working holiday visas for many countries of the world, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. A visa enables you to take on casual work or longer term employment, as long as you don’t overstay your time limit. Favourite paycations include grape picking, working in youth hostels and bar work.

Original Source:

Friday, 17 August 2012

Child's Challenge

If Julia Child famous chef, author and television host was alive today she would have turned 100.  While you may not be able to picture the Julie Child, you might be able to pick out the red and white cover of her infamous cook book:  Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Alternatively, you could be more familiar with the Julie and Julia movie and project  where we learn more about Julia through Julie, a young woman who aims to cook her way through the French Cookbook. 

There are two things that really stand out about Julia Child's life:

1. to get in the kitchen to try something new, and to share good food and the pleasures of the table
2. to remember you are never to old to try something new

Julia Child wrote, “This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”  Those are some great words to live by!  Now, you do not need to get on a plane and master a cuisine.  You do not even need to get on a plane.   You simply need to try something new for 30 days.  Matt Cutts shares in his TED talk how to un-stick yourself when you are feeling trapped, unmotivated and looking for a new lease in life.  Is there something you have always put on the back burner - maybe it is learning to swim, knit or to take up running again.  The TED talk is listed below.  Alternatively, should you wish to watch something a bit more lighthearted you might like to watch Julie and Julia to celebrate century since Child's birth.

So, get out there:  try something new for 30 days.  Capture the learning in a blog, like Julie -you maybe utterly surprised where life takes you, just like Julia Child.  

Bon Appetit! 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Going Aboard: Our Shared Fate

September marks an interesting time for families. Many families bring their children to university or college, and for some who have chosen a gap year, maybe to the airport.  After a summer of fun and preparation, it is time for these young adults to start out on a new journey.  What we read here, is many young adults are making different choices:  choices that take them on a global journey.  .
Jennifer Larr has the itch to go abroad. She's 26 years old and has already spent a year studying in France and two years in Rwanda with the Peace Corps, and she is headed to Uganda this summer for an internship. She's also a graduate student, studying international relations at UCLA.Larr is part of a growing number of 20- and early 30-somethings whose American dream has moved beyond suburban homes and traditional nuclear families, and it's one that now goes even beyond U.S. borders.Larr and others like her are more likely than previous generations to live, study and work abroad. As they travel the world, they're now abandoning some of the traditional tenets of the American dream that their parents held dear.National pollster John Zogby has been chronicling this trend for years. His book The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream discusses some of the changes taking place in Larr's generation. He has a name for young people like her: "first globals."It's a generation just as likely to watch the World Cup as it is the Super Bowl. It's not, however, just the children of the wealthy and the educated, says Zogby. "This is expanding beyond the Wellesleys and the Stanfords," he says. "It's different now.""Two out of three of them have passports," Zogby says. "They are well-traveled; technologically they have networks that include people all over the world. They have a desire to be nimble, to go anywhere and to be anywhere. They also have a desire to change their world and feel like they're in a position to do that."There are a few reasons why. More than 270,000 students studied abroad in the 2009-2010 school year, according to the International Institute of Education. That number is three times what it was two decades earlier. At the same time, the Internet and social media have made every part of the world seem instantly accessible. America's youth is just more diverse — and international — than ever.On top of being globally minded, Zogby says, these first globals have a different perspective on the idea of ownership as a tenet of the American dream. They are putting less emphasis on accumulating traditional things like homes, cars and the types of families their parents had. Instead, they're putting more energy into acquiring experience.  Larr, for instance, says she can do without the house and the kids."People will always rent you apartments wherever you go, [and] not every woman wants to have a child and be a mother, and be in the house all the time," Larr says.She could even do without the marriage."I've been in a really long-term relationship, and we're really happy the way we are. We can be committed to each other without necessarily having someone approve it," she says.Zogby says that all of this is reflected in his research, and that much of what made older generations tick just doesn't work for first globals. "The permanence of owning things doesn't exist," Zogby says. "The permanence of living somewhere doesn't exist. The permanence of getting a job and holding on to that job for the next 40 years doesn't exist."For many of these first globals, the idea of public service is a common thread. La Mikia Castillo, 28, recently graduated from USC's Price School of Public Policy. Her family is from the U.S. and Panama, and she has studied and traveled in Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala."My American dream is for other people to be able to achieve whatever they want to achieve," Castillo says. "It's not really about me and what I have as an individual. It's about trying to make a difference around the world."  Franklin Gilliam, dean of UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs, says dreams like Castillo's represent a new way of seeing the world that's become common among first globals. "It's a sea change in orientation," Gilliam says. "They understand this idea of a shared fate, or a linked fate. That somehow, what happens to somebody in Mumbai may have an effect on me in West Los Angeles."Julia Capizzi, a 33-year-old recent USC graduate who is studying for the Foreign Service exam, agrees."The larger world beyond L.A., beyond Chicago and my immediate experiences is an extension of me," Capizzi says. "So I feel an obligation to know what that is. Otherwise I feel like I'm walking around with blinders on."Capizzi also says her American dream is better than that of her parents, because she and people like her aren't afraid to literally go anywhere to accomplish their goals. "I think that my generation will be more fulfilled than my parents' generation," she says. But she admits that she had to make some sacrifices to live the life of a first global. She doesn't own a car or a house, and she says she would love to have already owned a house. There are a lot of different parts of her life, she says, that she's had to come to peace with to pursue her goals. In spite of any reservations, the Capizzis, Castillos and Larrs are here to stay, says Zogby, as is their new take on the American dream, and it may upend traditional ideas of family and citizenship as we now know it."[There are] going to be so many families out there where Papa's in Singapore and Mama's in Mauritius, and Baby is somewhere back and forth," he says.  The question is, what will that baby's dream be? And will it even be called American?

Article link and audio clip of article located here:

Friday, 3 August 2012

Olympics 2012: Always Do Your Best

The world is focused on the London 2012 Olympics.  News of wins and losses grab newspaper headlines across the globe.  We are privy to inspiring stories of people from all over the world.   Did you watch Hiroshi Hoketsu of Japan?  He has held the title of the oldest athlete at the games for several years: he is 71.Maybe you watched the incredible speed and determination of Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee from South Africa.  He certainly captured the attention of many at the games.  The games also start to blur the lines of what is possible and impossible.  Agreements that we have may have made with others and ourselves. 

There are thousands of athletes at the games and it would be a shame to only focus on those that made headlines and the podiums.  We must celebrate all of the athletes and all the of the time they put into preparing in their sport.   Others we need to celebrate, and this has been captured in many commercials, are the families and coaches that have supported these athletes.  They are the leaders behind the leaders - the motivators behind the role models.    If you have been reading about the games, you will see that many individuals have mottos or words that they go back to when it comes to preparing for the big race, journey or event.    This is not too far of from moving forward during times in our lives when we feel in the midst of something big or something deeply important.  As the games continue for another week, Miguel Ruiz's five agreements comes to mind; in particular, always do your best.  Let's read more about the five agreements. 

According to don Miguel Ruiz, everything we do is based on agreements we have made — agreements with ourselves, with other people, with the universe, and with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. With these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible.

The Five Agreements:

  1. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDSpeak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLYNothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering
  3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONSFind the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BESTYour best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are tired as opposed to well rested. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
  5. BE SKEPTICAL, BUT LEARN TO LISTENDon’t believe yourself or anybody else. Use the power of doubt to question everything you hear: Is it really the truth? Listen to the intent behind the words, and you will understand the real message.
In times of broken world records and even Olympic dreams it is ever so important to review what is impossible in our minds.  What we believe to be possible, what we strive for in our day to day lives must always reflect values that we hold true.  These values are ideals that we have agreed to uphold in how we lead and live our lives.   While we see hundreds of athletes achieve great heights, we must also find ways to set goals and aim high in our day to day lives.  The five agreements can help us to make sense and manage the blows when we do not always achieve what we set out to do.   This week, we have reviewed how to to do your best - watch the Olympics and cheer for those that do their best in the headlines and the podiums, but also, by being there by representing their countries. 

Miguel Ruiz's book is an incredible addition to a personal library.  It is a short read and travels well.  Take some to review the agreements.   How might you bring them into your day to day? Or do you have other mottos that you live by?